UCL Discovery
UCL home » Library Services » Electronic resources » UCL Discovery

Ecological consequences of human niche construction: Examining long-term anthropogenic shaping of global species distributions

Boivin, N; Zeder, M; Fuller, D; Crowther, A; Larson, G; Erlandson, J; Denham, T; (2016) Ecological consequences of human niche construction: Examining long-term anthropogenic shaping of global species distributions. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America , 113 (23) pp. 6388-6396. 10.1073/pnas.1525200113. Green open access

[img]
Preview
Text
PNAS Niche Construction MS for upload.pdf - Accepted version

Download (817kB) | Preview

Abstract

The exhibition of increasingly intensive and complex niche construction behaviors through time is a key feature of human evolution, culminating in the advanced capacity for ecosystem engineering exhibited by Homo sapiens. A crucial outcome of such behaviors has been the dramatic reshaping of the global biosphere, a transformation whose early origins are increasingly apparent from cumulative archaeological and paleoecological datasets. Such data suggest that, by the Late Pleistocene, humans had begun to engage in activities that have led to alterations in the distributions of a vast array of species across most, if not all, taxonomic groups. Changes to biodiversity have included extinctions, extirpations, and shifts in species composition, diversity, and community structure. We outline key examples of these changes, highlighting findings from the study of new datasets, like ancient DNA (aDNA), stable isotopes, and microfossils, as well as the application of new statistical and computational methods to datasets that have accumulated significantly in recent decades. We focus on four major phases that witnessed broad anthropogenic alterations to biodiversity—the Late Pleistocene global human expansion, the Neolithic spread of agriculture, the era of island colonization, and the emergence of early urbanized societies and commercial networks. Archaeological evidence documents millennia of anthropogenic transformations that have created novel ecosystems around the world. This record has implications for ecological and evolutionary research, conservation strategies, and the maintenance of ecosystem services, pointing to a significant need for broader cross-disciplinary engagement between archaeology and the biological and environmental sciences.

Type: Article
Title: Ecological consequences of human niche construction: Examining long-term anthropogenic shaping of global species distributions
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1525200113
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1525200113
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2016 National Academy of Sciences. The published version of record can be found on the PNAS website at http://www.pnas.org/content/113/23/6388
Keywords: biodiversity; extinctions; invasive species; novel ecosystems; Anthropocene
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of SandHS > Institute of Archaeology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of SandHS > Institute of Archaeology > Institute of Archaeology Gordon Square
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1497183
Downloads since deposit
166Downloads
Download activity - last month
Download activity - last 12 months
Downloads by country - last 12 months

Archive Staff Only

View Item View Item